The founder of Tower Records, Russ Solomon, reportedly passed away at the age of 92 while watching the Oscars.
The Sacramento Bee reported that he died while drinking whiskey and had a “smart-aleck remark on his lips.” The newspaper also reported that he died of a heart attack at his Sacramento, California-area home.
What a way to go out .. very hollywierd .. but such a titan in the music biz .. his record stores were pivotal for so many bands & audiences as a venue to connect & build community; Village 4th St Tower was my spot 1980-90s https://t.co/xqwRoSsCh5 @SteveConteNYC
— nashgibson (@NashGibsonmusic) March 6, 2018
We’ve lost a Sacamento and National icon. Russ Solomon’s contributions to our community will last another 92 years & more. We mourn his loss & our thoughts are with his wife Patti and their family.
Founder of Tower Records dies at 92 https://t.co/PGwi07TnB4
— Darrell Steinberg (@Mayor_Steinberg) March 5, 2018
Michael Solomon, the former chief executive of Tower Records, said, “Ironically, he was giving his opinion of what someone was wearing that he thought was ugly, then asked (his wife) Patti to refill his whiskey.” But when she returned, he had died.
Tower Records went out of business in 2006 after filing for bankruptcy a second time. The firm was founded in 1960 and operated retail stores in the United States, Ireland, Japan, Israel, Hong Kong, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and other locations.
Russ Solomon, founder of Tower Records, died at 92, while drinking whiskey and watching the Oscars. Here's our feature on the documentary, “All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records."https://t.co/JUX8X8o2dv pic.twitter.com/QfhYWEPx8Z
— Aidin Vaziri (@MusicSF) March 5, 2018
RIP Russ Solomon. Tower Records was such a huge part of my growing up. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/OnyoD2aqnW
— Lisa Loeb (@LisaLoeb) March 5, 2018
“Long aisles were packed with bins containing thousands of titles in every imaginable genre. The stores stayed open late and became evening hangouts,” wrote Variety magazine in an obituary about Solomon and Tower Records. “The Towers on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and Broadway in New York’s Greenwich Village were landmarks in their own right.”
And as Solomon told Billboard magazine in 2015: “Our favorite regular was Elton John. He probably was the best customer we ever had. He was in one of our stores every week, literally, wherever he was—in L.A., in Atlanta when he lived in Atlanta, and in New York,” the New York Times reported.
Solomon said that his business didn’t really take off until 1968 when he opened a store in San Francisco.
“I stole ideas from supermarket merchandising,” Solomon said, per the Times.